TECHNOLOGY

Best SLA 3D Printers

Since the cost of these kinds of 3D printers has decreased significantly over the past several years, SLA or resin 3D printing has gained much popularity. SLA and resin 3D printers, utilized in various industries, from jewelry to dentistry, are readily available from numerous businesses at reasonable prices. The top 15 SLA and resin 3D printers are detailed in this guide.

What is an SLA  or Resin 3D Printer?

Stereolithography (SLA) or resin printing technology is used to build prototypes, models, patterns, and production parts layer by layer. It uses solid 3D photochemical processes to develop polymers in which the light causes oligomers and monomers to cross-link. Resin 3D printers use the same projector or laser-based light source to transform liquid resin into hard plastic. The build platform, light source, and resin tank are arranged differently, which is the main physical difference. Resins, which are thermoset materials with light reactivity, are used in these machines. Small molecular chains combine oligomers and monomers to form solidified flexible or stiff geometries when SLA resins are exposed to specific light wavelengths. Among all 3D printing techniques, SLA parts have the best accuracy and resolution, the finest details, and the sleekest finishes. However, the SLA’s flexibility offers the majority of its advantages. Innovative SLA resins with diverse optical, thermal, and mechanical qualities have been developed by material makers to compete with common, industrial, and engineering thermoplastics.

What is the working principle behind an SLA printer?

SLA begins with a liquid polymer layer spread across a platform and takes place in a sizable tank. Since the polymer layer is UV-sensitive, the piece that will be one of the layers of your 3D print is solidified with a UV laser beam. The balance remains a liquid. Next, the platform is lowered, and the next resin layer is drawn on top of the prior one. It is raised out of the tank through the supporting platform after the print is finished, with the leftover liquid running away. Support material should be placed under overhanging and protruding areas since a liquid substance will be employed instead of a powder. After you take the model from your machine manually, you can remove the supports.

What are the advantages of SLA printers?

  • Precision printing: SLA printing is the most accurate 3D printing technique currently available. Less than half as thin as many FDM printers, SLA printers can operate at 25 m. Additionally, it has a highly tight dimensional tolerance, guaranteeing that the finished product is as close as possible to the required scale.
  • Smooth structures: Extremely smooth finished products are one of the main advantages of SLA printing over other processes. Although smooth edges are frequently difficult to achieve with FDM printers, the liquid resin solidifies uniformly to produce flat layers that fit one on top of the other.
  • Scalability of prints: SLA printers can only print as large as the liquid basin can support, but thanks to the laser’s accuracy and the strict dimensional tolerance, projects of any size can still be printed in excellent quality.

Which are the best SLA 3D printers available today?

  1. Prusa Research Original Prusa SL1 3D Printer: Prusa SL1, a 3D printer with a magnetic attraction, is a well-designed and ideal device for high-quality 3D printing with little effort. The printer can print UV-sensitive liquid resin with a wavelength of 405 nanometers. Layer resolution on the machine ranges from 0.025 to 0.1 mm, and its built volume is 120 x 68 x 150 mm. The printer costs $1399, while a fully assembled printer costs $1699. In the jewelry, aerospace, and medical industries, it is mainly utilized to create functional prototypes and parts. A 5.5-inch 2K LCD panel and MSLA Technology are included with the printer. Masked stereolithography is known as MSLA. The UV LED panel cures the resin by shining UV light via the LCD screen. The LCD serves as a mask. A removable resin tank is also included: At the bottom of the 3D printer is a flexible, transparent FEP film. The tank gently tilts after each layer has solidified. The model may be readily removed from the film once printing is complete. The printer is open source in terms of its resin, and users are free to utilize resins from other companies. LAN, Wi-Fi, USB connections, and an LCD touchscreen are just a few connectivity options available on the SL1. 
  2. XYZprinting Nobel 1.0A 3D Printer: The best 3D printers are famously made by XYZPrinting. The company first produced inexpensive FDM 3D printers, but when demand for SLA printers increased, it also began producing resin 3D printers. The upgraded version of Nobel 1.0 is called Nobel 1.0 A. A stands for “Advanced.” It runs on intuitive XYZ Ware Nobel Software and has a print volume of 128 x 128 x 200 mm. Through a USB connection or key, the user can upload STL files for 3D printing. This device is a fantastic option for long-term 3D printing and costs about $1995.95. The print bed and resin tank are shielded from the environment by a black plastic hood on this equipment (e.g., dust particles or other light sources). Only when the hood is on does the printer function. The user can take off the hood to refill the resin, remove the printed output, and clean the printer from the inside. One of the peculiar characteristics of printers of this type is the laser scanning unit. For greater accuracy and precision, the laser is scanned down to a resolution of 25 microns. Before printing begins, the auto-filling resin tank makes sure there is adequate resin in the tank. This leads to uninterrupted 3D printing. The resin tank has a 500 cc capacity. Users can monitor the printing procedure and the amount of resin still in the tank using the Monitoring System. There are many different resin materials from which users can select: The printer enables users to 3D print using castable resins, flexible resins, and acrylic resins in various colors. A 2.6-inch multilingual touch screen is an additional intriguing feature.
  3. ANYCUBIC Photon S 3D Printer: Chinese manufacturer Anycubic created the Proton S, the least expensive SLA 3D printer. It can carry out challenging 3D printing operations. The Original Proton model has been improved through this design. The printer uses a plastic resin. It is cured using a UV lamp. It contains a 5.2-inch 2K LCD screen that makes it easy to keep track of the printing job. The printing is of extraordinary quality. Industrial-grade printing is done at a rate of 15 to 18 millimeters per second. It works well for making jewelry, figurines, and other miniature models. The printer costs $419 and comes with a one-year and three-month warranty for the LCD screen. Its print capacity is 115 x 65 x 65 mm. The model has a matrix UV lighting system with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 for greater precision. During printing, it also evenly distributes energy across the model. Superior surface quality is made possible with the Dual Z-Axis. It provides solidity and enhances the specifics of the design. The printer’s unique layout makes leveling and setup simple. The user-friendly 2.8 inches color TFT touchscreen makes it simple to access and manage the printing process. Even novice users may easily use Anycubic’s Proton Slicer, an easy program for slicing.
  1. 3D Systems FabPro 1000 3D Printer: 3D Systems produced the FabPro 1000, an entry-level industrial 3D printer. It comes with excellent print quality but costs a lot. It specializes in producing low-volume tiny parts and prototypes. The print speed is 21 mm/hour, and the build volume is 125 x 75 x 120 mm. This printer has a 30 to 50-micron range for layer resolution. For 3D printing, the printer employs DLP StereoLithography technology. It is mostly employed in the engineering, jewelry, dental, and manufacturing services sectors. The cost of the device is $4126. There are several accessories included. A print tray, two print platforms, a resin tank kit, and a post-processing kit are some of them. The ability of the 3D printer to run repeatedly increases print speed. The company’s print management software, 3D Sprint, enables optimizing material utilization, saving resin, and fully disclosing print information. In contrast to other printers of a similar design that take days to manufacture the same model, this one can print in a matter of hours. Two processes make up the post-processing, which is straightforward. Cleaning comes first, followed by curing. The print must be removed from the print bed after the process. The support structure is then removed manually or with a solvent cleaned. UV curing of the component is required. When a printer is purchased, the manufacturer offers a post-processing package that aids in cleaning and curing.

Conclusion

SLA or resin-based 3D printers are 3D printers that utilize a UV-sensitive polymer or a resin to create 3D models through additive manufacturing or extruding layers of the molten resin on top of each other. SLA printers are some of the best, offering precision printing with smooth surfaces and excellent scalability. If you have a new 3D printer and you’re looking for files to print, check out SelfCAD, if you would like a 3D printing software for creating 3D models.